Some artists have goals similar to my own. Among these artists are some I find especially sympathetic–my protectors. My protectors are the artists from whom I learn the most.
My protector list is different from the artists that influenced me when I was young. My youthful influences include Rodin, Monet, and van Gogh. Of these, Rodin speaks to me the most these days.
This list is also different from artists that I like. I like a lot of artists; I try to learn from everyone.
My protector list contains the artists that speak to me most loudly from among those I like. This list changes occasionally but the current roster has been stable for some time.
Long-time readers know that David is one of my favorite artists. He is important to me. His ambition is immense and his achievements match those ambitions. He is one of the few for whom this can be said. David is not exactly underrated but he should be on everyone’s list of the world’s greatest artists. I also love how he paints: no showing off and no preciousness.
Poussin’s designs are intelligent and thoughtful. The geometry is strong but supportive rather than overbearing and dry. Nature infuses his paintings and, like David, he avoids sentimentality and showiness. If there was only one artist I could study, I would choose Poussin.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder fills his paintings with warmth, and good cheer. Like the other artists on my list, his technique is straightforward and restrained. These artists’ styles are refined–find the right tone and be done; neither too much nor too little. Like Poussin, Bruegel’s designs show strong geometry that supports the mind.